John Goodman trial jury selection has 'circus atmosphere,' defense official says

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The third day of jury selection in the DUI manslaughter trial of Wellington polo mogul John Goodman entered what was expected to be its final phase on Thursday afternoon as defense attorneys began to question potential jurors.

Earlier in the day, prosecutors narrowed the pool of 38 potential jurors to 37 after 15th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida Judge Jeffrey Colbath and Assistant State Attorney Sherri Collins questioned jurors about fairness and impartiality.

The group had been narrowed from more than 100 potential jurors. Among them was an accountant, a construction manager and several nurses.

A juror was excused after she told prosecutors and the judge she couldn't be fair.

Jury selection continued after defense jury consultant Joshua Dubin renewed concerns over pre-trial publicity.

"One thing has to be readily apparent -- unless they cover their eyes and muff their ears -- is that there is a circus atmosphere surrounding this trial outside the courtroom," he said. "There are entire sections of websites dedicated just to this trial where people can go on and log on and click on every document in the case -- the state's evidence -- and we had one prospective juror who said he did that."

The questions went on for hours.

Did the potential jurors know key parts of the case? Did they know where John Goodman was before Scott Wilson was killed?
    
On and on it went.

Among several questions prosecutor Sheri Collins wanted to know: "Do you have any feelings in terms of the way the police investigation was done? Good, or bad?" She also asked if anyone had ever been a victim of a crime.

And she added this: "Let me tell you right off, being a juror, it's work. It's duty. It's not like television where we can wrap it all up in an hour and every single question you have will be answered by instant replay."

Defense attorney Roy Black said he expected to have six jurors and two alternates seated by the end of today.

Prosecutors said they expected the trial, once a jury is seated, to continue through mid-March.

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